In Miami, a Hackathon for Cuba

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - January 31, 2014

By the Caribbean Journal staff

How can technology help remove information barriers in Cuba?

That’s the essential question on the agenda this weekend at the first-ever Hackathon for Cuba, which begins in Miami on Friday.

The event is being organized by the Roots of Hope organization with help from the John S and James L Knight Foundation.

According to the group, problems with “Internet connectivity, costly service, censorship and the lowest cellphone penetration rate in the Western Hemisphere” regularly limit the flow of information in the Caribbean country.

This weekend’s hackathon gathers technologists and innovators familiar with information barriers in Cuba to develop smartphone apps to combat these issues.

“There is a great demand in Cuba for applications that work without access to the Internet and technological tools that improve the everyday life of Cuban people,” said Natalia Martinez, chief innovation and technology officer at Roots of Hope, in a release. “Roots of Hope has long recognized that the impact of technology in Cuba cannot be underestimated and we are excited to launch what we hope will be a continued conversation about this.”
The event officially launches with a reception at the LAB Miami co-working space in the city’s Wynwood neighbourhood, with the hackathon set to begin Saturday morning.

Roots of Hope, or Raices de Esperanza, was founded in 2003 with the stated goal of “goal of empowering Cuban youth to be the authors of their own future.”

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